On October 14, South Korean artist Cui Xueli was found dead at home, and the police judged her suicide. Shirley was suspected of suffering from depression during her lifetime. In sadness and anger, Shirley’s departure also aroused many people’s attention to depression. If there is a good medicine to treat depression, will this “peach”-like 24-year-old girl really live out herself in the future?
Depression is a common disease worldwide, with an estimated 350 million patients. The clinical symptoms of depression are diverse. Some patients with depression are mainly delayed and depressed, while others are irritable and anxious.
Many people with depression cannot experience certain emotions, including grief, happiness, and happiness. The world seemed bleak and lifeless in their eyes. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide, and the annual number of suicide deaths is estimated to be as high as 1 million.
What did the research say?
Experts believe that the potential benefits of CBD for depression are related to its positive effect on serotonin receptors in the brain. Low serotonin levels are probably related to depression. Although CBD does not necessarily increase serotonin levels, it may affect related receptors located in the endocannabinoid system of the brain.
Researchers found in an animal study in 2014 that the effects of CBD on these receptors in the brain produced both antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects.
A more recent review in 2018 concluded that CBD has an anti-stress effect and can reduce stress-related depression.
There are many researches in this area. This is an area that is still actively researched. New research and review articles are published every year.
Regarding how CBD acts on depression, the following text in the box is a more detailed introduction:
It turns out that when people suffer from depression, certain areas of the brain shrink or even shrink, that is, the area responsible for memory, learning, and emotion (called the hippocampus).
Fortunately, this unique part of the brain can be restored. It can grow new neurons and form new connections. This process is called “neurogenesis” or “neural regeneration”. In the past, we thought that only the young brain could do this, but later studies showed that we His brain has always been able to be reshaped. This ability is called “neuroplasticity.”
Therefore, the real reason why antidepressants work is actually that they stimulate nerve regeneration in the hippocampus. This may be why antidepressants take several weeks to work, because brain neurons need time to heal, grow and form new connections.
CBD can also protect neurons in the hippocampus. This conclusion has been proven in animal studies and human experiments. In addition, CBD has recently been approved by the FDA. CBD derived from hemp can be used in epilepsy drugs, and CBD is effective for epilepsy, precisely because CBD protects hippocampal neurons. This protective effect is related to the following ways:
1. Endocannabinoids: Endocannabinoids are widely present in the brain and body and can help regulate memory, appetite, inflammation, etc. CBD increases the natural levels of endocannabinoids in the brain. In mouse experiments, it was found that CBD will increase the content of anandamide in the hippocampus, thereby stimulating the growth of neurons.
2. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF): This protein can help existing neurons survive, while promoting the growth of new neurons and connections (synapses). A number of animal studies have found that CBD can increase the level of BDNF in the hippocampus while reducing depression symptoms.
3. Serotonin receptor: Similar to the anxiolytic drug buspirone, CBD activates a serotonin receptor (5-HT 1A). These receptors control a variety of other neurotransmitters, and buspirone has been shown to increase nerve growth in the hippocampus of possums, so CBD may have a similar effect.
4. PPARγ: When CBD binds to this receptor, it tells DNA to start making various neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory compounds. Scientists recently discovered that this receptor also helps CBD stimulate hippocampal nerves.
Compared with antidepressant drugs, CBD seems to be faster and more effective, with fewer side effects. Most antidepressants take several weeks to start working. And a 2019 animal study found that CBD has an effect similar to antidepressant drugs, coming faster and more sustainable.
Compared with antidepressants, CBD has fewer side effects. Insomnia, sexual dysfunction, mood swings and restlessness are common side effects of antidepressants, and CBD has not been found to have similar side effects.
Of course, this is not to say that CBD can be used to replace antidepressants. It should be noted that the antidepressants prescribed by the doctor must not be stopped without authorization. Sudden withdrawal may cause serious side effects. If you don’t want to continue taking the drug, you should also consult your doctor first to find a way to stop the drug gradually.